Asthma is common, yet serious
Meet Emerson who had his breath taken away from asthma.
My wife Sheri and I are Breathe Ambassadors for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan. We tragically lost our wonderful son, Emerson, in December 2013 from an asthma attack. Emerson was just two years old when he passed away. By sharing Emerson’s story we are hoping that some good can come out of our terrible loss and that it never happens to any other child.
Emerson is our second child. He was a normal, happy boy who kept us very busy. He was always up for anything, loved everything and wanted to be exactly like his brother, Clive. Like my wife Sheri says, “It’s a good thing he was so cute, because he sure was busy.” Emerson had the usual colds and flu that two year olds get, but was never officially diagnosed with asthma. He did use inhalers when his colds affected his chest. He had never been to the emergency department until the night he passed away.
Education, avoiding asthma triggers, and proper use of asthma medication are currently our best tools for managing asthma while researchers search diligently for a cure.
Warning Signs of an Asthma Emergency:
- Struggling for breath
- Very rapid breathing
- Blue rescue inhaler doesn’t help or needing it more than every 4 hours
- Sucking in skin above breastbone and between ribs
- Really tired, lethargic (because of the work of breathing)
- It’s hard to speak – you can’t finish a sentence
- Nostrils flaring out
- Pale, grey, sweating
- Blue lips or nail beds
If you or someone you love is having an asthma emergency, go to the nearest emergency department right away or call 911. They should also take their fast acting (rescue) inhaler as necessary on their way to the hospital.
In Saskatchewan 15-20% of our children have asthma. The Lung Association is the ‘go to’ source for medically based lung health information, programs and services on asthma in our province. They also fund globally-recognized researchers at the University of Saskatchewan in the study of asthma.
Asthma can be life-threatening and Sheri and I urge you to become fully informed about this chronic lung disease. We feel that had we been better educated about asthma that Emerson might still be here today. Never in a million years would we have thought he would die from it and urge other parents to take it very seriously.
It’s important to know how to manage asthma and how to avoid asthma attacks. The Certified Respiratory Educators at The Lung Association are available during office hours to answer your questions about asthma and to help you access the respiratory care services in your area. Please call them at 1-888-566-LUNG (5864).